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A friend in Winona, doing some research, gave me the heads up on a major rule change in Rochester, Minnesota that prohibits dancing on Sundays and forbids girls 18 and under from attending any dances that do occur!

New Rochester Dancing Rules Are Effective - December 18, 1917

Winona Republican Herald - December 18, 1917
Winona Republican-Herald - December 18, 1917
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There must have been some trouble in 1917 Rochester, Minnesota. Maybe it was over the summer, and the governing body of the berg was asked to do something to, "Clean up this town!" I assume they said.  And what follows is very likely a possible conversation had by the city's morally concerned and the mayor...

"Mr. Mayor, go and see for yourself. There are ladies of ill-repute and men, and liquor, too! Spirits for men and women, Mayor!"

-- "You don't say...women and the devils drink? I think I must investigate!"*

That was probably around July or August, the mayor had to keep investigating, and finally, these were the results (transcribed version below).

Winona Republican
Winona Republican-Herald
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  • The new dance hall ordinance passed at Rochester is strict and not only prohibits dances on Sundays but limits them on all weekdays to between 8 and 11 p.m.

  • Just 9 Years later girls were invested in healthful activities, so obviously, the new rules worked! GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM OSSEO HIGH SCHOOL 1926
    Just 9 Years later girls were invested in healthful activities, so obviously, the new rules worked!
    GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM OSSEO HIGH SCHOOL 1926
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  • Intoxicated persons and women of known immoral character are also barred.
  • Immodest or indecent dances are forbidden.
  • Improper motions of the body are taboo.
  • Rude, boisterous, obscene, or indecent speech is under the lid.
    • Drinking of intoxicating liquor in or around the dance hall is forbidden.
    • Those who have gained admission to the building will not be granted passout checks. Should they leave, they must again pay the admission price. This is designed to prevent running out after drinks. Penalties of $50 or 20 days are provided for breaking the ordinance.
    Unidentified group of people dancing St Paul Winter Carnival St Paul Minnesota 1916 - One year before Rochester's Rules went into effect. Look at he debauchery!
    Unidentified group of people dancing St Paul Winter Carnival St Paul Minnesota 1916 - One year before Rochester's Rules went into effect. Look at the debauchery!
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    I'll bet that put a stop to the shenanigans.

    Front Page of the Winona Republican-Herald December 18, 1917

    Front Page Same Issue - Winona Republican
    Front Page Same Issue - Winona-Republican
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    *This entire conversation is fake...I'm just guessing politicians have always kinda been politicians, you know? 

    The same year (1917), this was going on up north. So maybe it was a growing trend?

     "Minneapolis' public safety commission shuts down all of the city's cabarets and 43 of its saloons...At the time, a "cabaret" is defined as any entertainment establishment that holds performances—such as dances and musical events—before an audience that is seated at tables. Dancing on the part of the audience is prohibited, and it is illegal to sell alcohol to women. If a man buys a beer at a restaurant and shares it with his wife, he can get fined." (SOURCE)

    As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: james.rabe@townsquaremedia.com

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